Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Cart Before the Horse

     I like this weeks Torah portion (Genesis 12:1-17:27), which is called in Hebrew Lekh Lekha, because of the story of Abraham's faith in the covenent that his SEED would make him the Father of many nations. This story ties directly to Romans chapter 4. Romans 4 speaks a lot of the "Law" or Torah and it's inability to justify us, but does that mean that we throw it out, the Law? I'm talking about the whole Torah, not just the modern division between moral and civil laws, but all the instructions given to Elohim's people. It is my conviction that Paul would never tell anyone to forsake the Torah, but what he did address, is how all people are rendered innocent or justified before Elohim.
    His point in Romans 4 is to show that faith came before circumcision so that all who are uncircumcised, all who are lawless, all who walk in the steps of Abraham can come to Elohim and be rendered innocent. Paul was making a point that it was not being circumcised that resulted in our righteousness, but our faith that gains us righteousness. The action word is faith not circumcision.
   Why does this matter? Well, I believe that this argument is what Paul continues to expound on, in all of his letters. This argument that we are rendered innocent FIRST by faith, is not what the religious Jews had come teach. In order to be justified before Elohim, the Jewish authorities, believed that you must behold and do ALL their teachings, which included the oral Torah, which, when you agreed to and did, then you would be counted as righteous. That got you in to the club so to speak. One of the signs that a Gentile had to perform before joining the club, for lack of a better phrase, was to be circumcised. That physical act of circumcision, proved to the ruling authorities at that time that the converting person, was really willing to forsake their former lives and circumcising oneselve proved it. The body was held in high standard by those in the surrounding cultures and marring it with a knife was considered disgusting. To those who wanted to join to the Jewish nation, circumcision was a confirming sign that one was committed and sure of their conversion. Circumcision and all that that meant, became the door, to righteousness, not FAITH.
   Paul corrects this cart before the horse, specifically here in Romans, by referring to Abraham's faith. Because we have faith in the same Elohim, because we have faith in the same promised SEED, because we have faith in him who raised from the dead Yeshua our Adonai, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification, WE ARE JUSTIFIED or RENDERED INNOCENT.

Abraham's faith saved him and our faith saves us. He was saved many years before Yeshuah came and we are save many years after Yeshuah came, BUT our faith is the same.
    Finally, does his argument, conclude that because of this FAITH, the Torah/Law is no longer to be engaged, no longer to be practiced, no longer to be followed? NO abolutely NOT! His argument addressed the how our justification occured. It did not address whether or not we should practice the Torah, or whether or not we just keep the moral laws, it addressed FAITH.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Feeling rather vunerable

It is with arrogance that my heart expects to be taken care of. It is only by grace that I am able to stir cream into a coffee that sits on a counter, that sits in a kitchen that sits in a house that is surrounded by relatively peaceful people who are privileged to drive in a working car on streets that are relatively taken care of that take these people wherever, whenever they want because streetlights keep the road lit 24/7/365. I have no merit in achieving this except that I have an Elohim who has seen fit to allow this to happen. I am thankful Father. I drink this coffee with a deep gratitude.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Acts 15 The Jerusalem Council

In having healthy "discussions" with Christians about the role of the Festivals (Leviticus 23) for believers in Yeshua, I am often directed to the "Jerusalem Council" in the 15th book of Acts, where I am told that it was decided that the Mosaic law was not expected from the Gentiles in walking out their faith. In fact, Acts 15 is often given as proof that the Torah, as the Old Testament Law is sometimes referred to, is not for the Gentiles. The judgement in verse 19 gives a brief overview of what was required by the Gentiles.

I have included a somewhat lengthy detailed paper by one of my favourite teachers named Tim Hegg. Don't let it scare you off. Get out your scriptures and follow along. It is called Acts 15 and The Jerusalem Council: Did they conclude that the Torah was not for Gentiles?

Also, I like to make note that most Act 15 readers stop at verses 19 & 20 when they present this incorrect interpretation of the Jerusalem Council. If you keep reading verse 21 it says "For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.". From that verse, one could conclude, that not only were the incoming Gentiles expected to be in the synagogue every Sabbath (not the Roman Catholic Sunday), they were going to hear the teachings of Moses (the Law/Instructions).

When I trained new waitress/waiters at Earls, way back when (cough,cough), we didn't allow them to head out to the tables to take orders on the first day. We trained them to "just do a few things" as the new employee got a feel for how Earl's operated. They were to have "shadowed" a trained waiter, until they understood the rules of being a waiter. There were lots of expectations for each new waiter, but certainly they were not expected to "know" all the rules on the first day. The "rules" of waitressing are not ones to bring legalism, but order and peace, safety and organization. Training usually took 1-2 weeks, or longer if the "new" waiter had no experience at all.

Doesn't this sound like a form of discipleship?

Please don't use Act 15 to support the "Torah ain't for us Gentiles" argument, unless you want to discuss it together, with the scriptures in hand.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Yeshua Fills Full the "Law/Instructions" and the Prophets

Every week when we read through the scripture portions we are told to look for Yeshua, as He himself told us that He filled them full. Recently I have come across a wonderful website where a woman named Rimona Frank gives Hebrew insights to the different Torah portions. It's called appropriately Hebrew Insights. Here's what I learned this week from her blog.

In Exodus 28:30 Moses was told to "put the Urim and Thummim into the breast plate of judgement: and they shall be on the heart of Aaron in his going before the face of YHVH. And Aaron shall bear the judgment of the sons of Israel on his heart before the face of YHVH continually".

The Hebrew root for Urim means light (in the plural form) and the Hebrew root for Thummim means "integrity, perfect, complete, entirety, and finished". So essentially "light and perfection, or completion".
Does this fit the description of our Messiah, Yeshua?

As well, these items are to be on the heart of Aaron in his going before the face of YHVH. We too, need to have this "light" and "perfection" (Yeshua) on/in our hearts before going before the face of YHVH.

The first letters in the words Urim and Thummim in Hebrew are the Aleph and Tav. The beginning and the end. The word that was in the beginning. The word that was in YHVH and the word that was YHVH. Pretty cool stuff.

Thank you Yeshua for being my Urim and Thummim so that I can come before the face of YHVH.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rendered Innocent

It occurred to me today, that the misleading notion that Yeshua did away with the law, by fulfilling it, can only occur if we believe the Pharisaical understanding of justification. The Pharisees taught that the only way to be justified (rendered innocent) is by keeping the Law. Law defined as the written word (scripture) and the oral laws (their traditions). If the Pharisaical understanding of justification meant that we had to keep the Law in order to be justified (rendered innocent) then, yes, it makes sense that Yeshua would come do away with that.

The problem is that the Pharisaical understanding of justification (being rendered innocent) is not what the scriptures teach. It's what the Pharisee's taught. It was their added teachings that Yeshua came against to correct in all of his dealings with the Pharisee's and other religious leaders at that time. He came against THEIR traditions added to the Law and Prophets, which was what YHVH had warned them not to do. (Deuteronomy 12:32) "Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it."

The only way to be rendered innocent is by faith in Yeshua Messiah. It's how Abraham was justified. It's how Isaac was justified. It's how Moses was justified. Their faith in the salvation of YHVH (Yeshua) was accounted to them as righteousness. It was not their status as a Jew/Hebrew.

Yeshua said in Matthew 5: 17-19, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophet; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches other to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

If you believe that the Pharisees are right, in that justification (being rendered innocent) only happened by their definition, then getting rid of the law seems like a logical solution and puts Yeshua back in his rightful place. If you don't agree with the Pharisees and look beyond their false teaching you can see that the Law never could render you innocent, BUT it also means according to Yeshua's own words, that the law then is still relevant. If it never was put in place as a means for justification (being rendered innocent), then it doesn't need to be gone. In fact Yeshua says that until heaven and earth pass away (they are still here in case you weren't sure) not one jot or tittle will pass from the Law until ALL is accomplished. Even still, Yeshua goes on to say that who ever doesn't do them and teaches others to "relax" them, will be called least in HIS kingdom.

It's not, either or (grace or law); its both and (grace and law).

I am rendered innocent by faith in Yeshua and show that I love him by calling on his grace as I follow His commandments, including the jot's and tittle's.

We all, Jew and Gentile, have access to the Father through Yeshua, and blessed be that gift.

My Saviour, how I love thee!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our Showbread

I love learning more about Yeshua in the scriptures, especially when He said that He filled it full of meaning about Him. "Do not think I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17-19.
I read yesterday about the Show Bread in Exodus 25. These are the 12 pieces of bread, one for each tribe, called "the Bread of the Presence" that were kept on a special table facing the Golden Lampstand. I learned from Rimona Frank at Hebrew Insights that the literal translation of the Bread of the Presence would be the bread of the "face". As well, she points out that the same root word that is in an earlier chapter of Exodus, is also face (Chapter 23: 15-17). In verse 15, we are commanded "not to appear before me (YHVH) empty-handed". The word "me" is MY FACE. Verse 15 could be literally translated as "not to appear before MY FACE empty-handed". These feasts, where the people are not to appear empty-handed, are all related to some sort of food; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the feast of Harvest (First Fruits) and also the fall Feast of Ingathering.

(Hopefully, I'm going to try to connect the dots here, so that I can share what I learned)

In our study yesterday we talked about the images of bread in the scriptures, especially pertaining to Yeshua. He called himself the Bread of Life.
Yeshua is the bread of life. It is by His presence in our lives that we are able to appear before the Father. It is by His presence in our lives, that we are able to appear before the Father's face. We don't come empty-handed because we have in our possession the bread of the Presence, the bread of the FACE, who is Yeshua. Every tribe (a complete number) has a piece so that when they are required to come before Him they have a piece of this bread.
YHVH supplied our bread for us, so that when we appear before Him we are not empty-handed as He commanded us. We can stand before the HOLY of HOLY's with our BREAD of LIFE (YESHUA). Because of this bread I/WE can come before His FACE.

Isn't this amazing. I love my Father who instructs me...who keeps His word...who has given me bread to eat and I hunger no more. I have eaten the BREAD of THE FACE. Who is in me? The SHOW BREAD.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sabbath is Sweet!

I am blessed to have my sister join our family on this sometimes lonely walk. We have been the only ones in my immediate family for about 9 years now, until this past year. My sister and her husband have joined with our family to spend the evening welcoming Shabbat together. It was wonderful last evening to share in this appointed feast with family. It is an appointed feast of YHVH's. It is wonderful to start this feast with family and great food. Thank you Father for this blessing. I am very thankful for this gift of fellowship with my sister. You are a great King!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Fellowship of the Unashamed

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made.

I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back,

Let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure.

I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colourless dreams, tame visions,

Mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need position, promotions, applauds, or popularity.

I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised,

Regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on YHVH’s presence,

Love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is YHVH,

My road is narrow, my way may be rough, my joy is secure,

My companions may be few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away,

Turned back, deluded, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity,

Negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity,

Or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up until

I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up,

Paid up and spoken up for the cause of Messiah.

I am a disciple of Yeshua Ha Mashiach.

I must go till He comes, give all I can,

Preach till all know, and work till He stops me.

And when He comes for His own, He will know me